Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS) offers an alternative to conventional open surgical operations that are operated to solve a variety of different spinal disorders. These include herniated disc, Lumbar spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, vertebral compression fractures, and scoliosis. Today, MISS is great to stabilize the spinal joints and vertebral bones and/or relieve pressure on the spinal nerves that can occur as a result of bone spurs, spinal tumors or infections, spondylolisthesis, or spinal instability. Unlike traditional surgeries, minimally invasive surgical procedures are safer, faster, less painful, and have a shorter back surgery recovery time.
During a minimally invasive surgery, your surgeon will make one or multiple small incisions of about half an inch. An endoscope (a small metal tube) is positioned through the incision to help the surgeon analyze the small operative area. Smaller incisions result in much less damage to soft tissues and muscles compared to a single big incision.
Benefits of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeries
The idea of undergoing surgery is always a scary one, let alone a spinal surgery. Nevertheless, with minimally invasive surgery, you get certain advantages that can help you take a sigh of relief. These include:
Low Level of Risk
Because the incisions made are small as compared to large openings on the neck and back, the risk of infection is significantly minimized. You also face comparatively lesser blood loss. Moreover, limited intrusion also eliminates the possibility of muscle damage. Blood loss during surgery is also lessened as the openings made are smaller.
In addition, the procedure uses lesser anesthesia compared to traditional surgery. This lowers the risk of complications related to anesthesia during the surgery and recovery.
More Cosmetically Pleasing
Besides its health benefits, minimally invasive surgery also has aesthetic advantages. Small incisions result in minimal scars. This is not the case in traditional surgeries, where patients are often left with big prominent scars on multiple areas. If scarring is your major concern, minimally invasive surgery is your best option.
Faster back surgery Recovery Time
Most patients dread staying in the hospital for long periods of time. With minimally invasive surgery, different procedures require little downtime. The overall recovery is less limiting, making the post-surgery experience rather pleasant.
Another big advantage of MISS comes in the form of less pain during the recovery period. Smaller incisions translate to less muscle damage which means less pain both in the short and long terms. This substantially reduces one’s dependence on pain medications.
How Do Minimally Invasive Surgeries Work?
The spinal nerves, discs, and vertebrae are located deep inside the body. This means that in order to access them, the muscle tissue needs to be moved out of the way. Typically, this is done by using making small cuts and guiding microscopic cameras through them. Lasers are rarely used in MISS.
Common Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Options for Back Pain
Minimally invasive surgery uses a number of techniques designed for different back problems. The most widely used options include:
The disks in our spine are elastic rings filled with soft material that act as cushions between the vertebral bones. Once these rings become weak, the tissue inside can herniate or protrude out of the elastic ring. The protruding disk can put pressure on the nearby nerves, causing discomfort and pain. Minimally invasive surgery can be used to trim or completely remove the herniated disc with the help of an endoscope or tubular dilators.
Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion
This is a type of minimally invasive surgery done on patients who experience refractory lower back pain as well as radicular pain linked with a herniated disk, degenerative disk disease, or spondylolisthesis. The operation is done on the back using two incisions. Rods and screws are then put between two or more levels of the vertebrae. The intervertebral disc is removed, and a cage with a bone inside is placed in that space to stabilize the vertebrae.
When the vertebral canal in the spine becomes narrow, the result is the compression of nerves. This is a common back condition called spinal stenosis, which can produce a variety of symptoms like muscle weakness, numbness, and pain. Minimally invasive surgery can be used to remove the soft tissues and bone that might be causing the nerve compression. The most commonly used decompressive procedures are:
- Laminectomy: A laminectomy creates space around the spine as well as the areas surrounding the nerves. It does so by removing the lamina, which is boney extensions coming out from the spinal vertebrae that might be compressing the nerves nearby.
- Foraminotomy: A foraminotomy is an operation that uses MIS techniques to remove a small part of the bone present in the spinal foramina. Foramina are very small openings in each spinal vertebra which the spinal cord, nerves, and arteries pass. This surgery is widely used to restore spinal mobility and eliminate any associated symptoms.
Kyphoplasty is generally recommended when back pain results from a fractured vertebra. The process involves the use of a catheter to inject a surgical balloon into the fractured area. The balloon then fills in the gap between the vertebras.
What is the Recovery Period Like after a Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?
In comparison with traditional open surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery leads to less pain, low muscle damage, and a faster recovery period. Generally, patients are of MISS are expected to stay in the hospital for 3 to 5 days. However, the exact length of the recovery time will differ from one individual to another depending on various factors. These include the difficulty of the procedure undergone, age, medical history, and expertise of the surgeon.
Some patients may have to take the help of physical therapy after the surgery to regain strength and quicken the recovery process further. Be sure to keep follow-up appointments with your doctor so they monitor your progress and solve any queries that you may have.
If you are experiencing any sort of back problems, you should consider getting a minimally invasive spine surgery to correct any spinal issues that you might have. Get in touch with a spine center for their expert opinion.